Rights of and Restrictions on Women in India, China, and Japan

Throughout history, women have been fighting a constant battle with men, and moreover, society. Rights would be granted to women, but restrictions would always follow. This eternal push and pull of the woman’s place in society lasted for many centuries. Women in Japan, China, and India were subject to similar liberties and laws, even though there were a few differences; these liberties and laws can be condensed into three categories: power, social life, and education.
The right to power is usually reserved for men, both within the household and among an empire. However, women slowly made their way into leadership positions and proving themselves worthy of power. For example, women in China under the Shang Dynasty served in many political positions, the most noteworthy being Fu Hao. She was not only a priestess, but also a diplomat and military leader. Centuries later, Empress Wu rose to power in the Tang Dynasty. Not only did she declare Buddhism to be the state religion, she also demanded to be called “Divine Empress Who Rules the Universe.” Even though China did see a fair share of powerful women, it did not last. Political treaties were passed that excluded women from government and ultimately the adoption of Confucian ideas led to great reform. Similarly, Japan saw many powerful women. Tomoe, from the Tale of Heike, was a skilled woman warrior. She commanded many and instilled fear with the accuracy of her bow and arrow. Much like China, Japan was also ruled by an empress; Empress Suiko ruled for 36 years before her nephew took the throne. Daimyo women also had a place in early Japanese society. Eventually, the spread of the teachings of Confucius brought reform similar to China. In contrast, women in India had little to no political influence or power. Legal responsibilities were reserved for men while the women oversaw the household. Like Japan and China, religion was to blame for these restrictions; in India, Hinduism, and more specifically the smirti,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *